|Original Airdate||April 12, 2007|
Lab Rats is the twentieth episode of the seventh season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
While the team members are out on cases and Grissom and Doc Robbins hunt for a rat that crawled out of a floater and escaped into the lab, Hodgins gather the other lab workers to take a look of their own on the evidence in the Miniature Killer case.
Grissom assigns all the CSI's to various assignments as the night shift at the CSI lab begins.
Hodges text messages his fellow lab techs Archie, Mandy, and Henry, telling them to meet him in Grissom's office. He tells them that Grissom has been distracted recently because the Miniature Killer is still at large and implies that Grissom has asked the techs to go over the crime scene models with fresh sets of eyes. Hodges notes that "field guys deal with people, we deal with things", and convinces them that even if they cannot find the killer, they can find the thing that links all four murders.
The techs examine the crime scene models from the Izzy Delancy murder and the Penny Garden murder. Hodges briefs the other lab techs on the details of the two crimes. Wendy shows up at Grissom's office and the techs all scatter back to their respective labs.
Meanwhile, Grissom and Doc Robbins perform an autopsy on a drowning victim. In the middle of the autopsy, a rat jumps out of the body and runs out of the morgue. Doc Robbins reveals that he hates rats. Doc Robbins and Grissom set rat traps, but as they do so, the power goes out in the lab and the backup generator kicks in. They find the rat fried in a fuse box. They perform a necropsy on the rat and find a pill containing black tar heroin. They realize that their drowning victim was a mule.
Throughout the shift, the various CSIs bring evidence for the techs to process, and Nick invites Hodges to a forensics conference in Iowa. As Hodges is thus occupied, Wendy joins Archie and Henry in looking over the file for Raymundo Suarez's murder at the chicken factory. They then discuss the evidence against Ernie Dell and Ernie's confession and suicide.
Hodges pulls Wendy aside and tells her that Grissom asked him to gather a group of techs to examine the evidence, but he deliberately did not ask her to join the group because he knew she would try to take over the task. Wendy says that Hodges doesn't like her because she stands up to him, and Hodges says that she thinks she's too cool for the other techs.
The techs next examine the model from Barbara Tallman's murder. They note the anomalies (the model being sent directly to Grissom before the murder even occurred) and the sting operation that resulted in the death of an undercover police officer. They also go over the transcript from Ernie's son Lionel's police interview and discuss how hard it is for the CSIs to track down all of the Dells' foster children, all of whom are possible suspects in the case.
Hodges tells the techs that the only connection found between the four victims is that they all received calls from the same phone number from a disposable phone. When Hodges cannot find evidence that the CSIs called the number, Wendy calls the number using Hodges' cell phone. When she is sent to voice mail, Hodges hangs up the phone and sarcastically congratulates Wendy for giving the killer his phone number.
Hodges, Wendy, and Henry examine photographs of the models. Hodges suggests that they try to determine who the killer is by deducing the message he is trying to send. Henry describes the killer as "an obsessive, meticulous, dark-ass misanthrope who seeks recognition for his efforts"; Wendy and Henry turn to Hodges, who is meticulously arranging his carrot sticks and bags of potato chips in front of him. Without looking up, he replies, "When would I find the time? I'm always here."
They try to find a common element in the four models. Hodges notices a barrel in the chicken factory model, and in his effort to examine it more closely, he breaks the barrel off the model. This allows him to read the sign on the barrel and he sees that it contains bleach. They realize that bleach was found in both the Izzy Delancy and the Barbara Tallman scenes, but they cannot think of where the bleach in the Penny Garden scene could be. Wendy, in frustration, quits working on the case.
Sara gives Wendy evidence to process, and Wendy asks her if the Miniature Killer case has been keeping Grissom up at night. She says that Hodges told her that Grissom confided in him, and Sara questions whether Grissom would confide in Hodges about anything. Wendy realizes that Hodges lied about Grissom asking for help, and confronts him. She asks him why he did this, and he says that today is his lucky day (he found a dollar bill on the street and won an online auction, among other things). He overheard Grissom commenting to Sara about the Miniature Killer case and decided to help. Wendy asks him how, as a scientist, he could believe in luck, and tells him that Grissom would never have asked him for help.
Hodges examines the Penny Garden crime scene. When he is interrupted by Grissom, he reveals that he has found a coupon for bleach in the model and tells Grissom his theory that bleach is the common element in all four models. Given the lack of regular intervals between murders, he thinks that the killer is triggered by something, and that that something is bleach, which means he might work in a janitorial or cleaning service. He then speculates that if the killer is a foster child, perhaps bleach played a role in some traumatic events from his past. Grissom realizes that this theory could be true, and notes that people with this pathology often become vocal towards the institutions they feel propagate the triggers. Hodges says that they should call bleach manufacturing companies to see if any got any hate mail.
Grissom praises Hodges' work, and then tells him to leave his office. Hodges leaves and pumps his fist, as his lucky day continues.
- "Built To Kill, Part 1"
- "Built To Kill, Part 2"
- "Post Mortem"
- "Loco Motives"
- "Monster in the Box"
- "Living Doll"
The song Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra was used during the "Hodges' Lucky Day" sequence.